What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Instructions Not Included -- which is primarily in Spanish with English subtitles, though some scenes are played in English -- is a blend of very funny and very sad. Viewers can expect everything from sexual farce and antic slapstick comedy (a stuntman falling from great heights and repeatedly slamming into a brick wall) to the profound love between a father and his little girl. Before he knows he has a daughter, the main character is a confirmed ladies' man; his sexual dalliances are comic and without nudity, though there's a smattering of cleavage, a few male "butt" shots, and lots of rolling around in bed. There are also fart jokes, a dog peeing on camera, occasional swearing ("f--k," "bulls--t," "damn"), and sexual references ("knocks her up," "damn cheap condoms," "you did it with your sister?"). A central character is a lesbian involved in a mature, loving relationship. Fear is a recurring theme (a little boy's fear of threatening wolves is played in flashback throughout; he's also shown at the mercy of a scorpion and being thrown over a cliff, though no one is severely injured during these episodes). Spoiler alert: During the final sequence, the movie takes a tragic turn that may be too disturbing for some, with the death of a major character.
- Families can discuss how facing fear is an important theme in Instructions Not Included. Did watching any of it trigger thoughts of your own fears? How can you best deal with things that you're afraid of?
- Some films are thought to "manipulate the audience's feelings." What does this mean? What do you think the filmmakers want viewers to take away from this particular movie?
- How does the movie portray sex/sexual relationships? There's a lot of sexual humor; does that affect the impact of the content?
- This movie is a combination of many different film types/genres. What are they? What elements did you like best? What will you remember most?